Derawan, North Borneo, is also famously known as the Maldives of Indonesia. It was a beautiful getaway for a few friends and myself in May 2015. It is famously known of its turtles, dolphins, manta rays and jellyfishes. For us, it was more than just that.

The trip took us 4 days and 2 nights. Luckily, Indonesia has been giving a lot of long weekends in 2015, and we took one of them to explore the famous Derawan by trusting @budgetour as our experience guide.

Flying early is the best way to get there. You need to reach the Tarakan Airport as early as possible because the boat ride to Derawan itself takes another 3 to 4 hours. Once you reach Tarakan, make sure you eat something before you ride the boat. It is a very small boat and the ride is really tough, sleeping itself can be a challenge.

Upon arrival you will be greeted by beautiful and colorful houses by the beach. Air conditioners are pretty useless because the night can be quite cold. Taking pictures with the houses during the sunset is really recommended here.
The neighborhood.

The colorful welcome!
In Derawan itself there is not much to do. You are probably done exploring the islands at 3 or 4 PM everyday because of the tides. Here are some of the sites we visited!
Kakaban Lake. Swim with pretty jellyfishes.

Sanggalaki Island, great view from this tree house at the beach!

Blue Cave Maratua, jumping from the cliff behind me is a must!
Maratua Paradise Resort, if you wish to travel in style with a few extra bucks.
Sanggalau Island. It is so 'galau' it only appears when the tide is low. Thats how the people named it.

Other than these islands, there are a lot of snorkeling sites that you need to visit. Some of them are the fish feeding site, manta point and etc. After the island hoping, you can end the day riding a bicycle in Derawan. It is very recommended as it offers a fun beach at the end of the ride to explore! If you’re lucky, you can play some volleyball with the locals as well.

For me personally, 4 days and 3 nights were just right. You can visit some of the islands for 1 day and dive for 1 day. If you choose to dive for the whole trip, you might be missing the chances to visit Kakaban Island and some other exotic islands that we visited when we were island hoping. 

Derawan was a very memorable trip to us. A lot of laughter and a lot of excitement! Perhaps to trigger you even more, you can make it even more memorable by creating a personal memory on this Sanggalau Island just like them.

She said yes!
Ps: congratulations Sandy & Julie. Great days waiting ahead!

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